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Hotel promotions: Ideas to boost bookings

  Posted in Resources  Last updated 21/05/2024

What are hotel promotions?

Hotel promotions are tailored offers aimed at attracting guests and enhancing bookings. Often, they are built around particular themes, such as the season, a local event, or a holiday (e.g. Valentine’s Day or Christmas).

These are not merely discounts on room rates; they can be comprehensive packages that include additional amenities such as complimentary breakfast, spa credits, or exclusive experiences like guided city tours.

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Why should hotels offer booking promotions?

The hospitality industry is highly competitive, making differentiation essential. Booking promotions serve multiple strategic purposes:

  • Increasing occupancy rates: Promotions can help fill rooms during low-demand periods and help a hotel “piggyback” on subjects that are already front of mind for their audience.
  • Fostering customer loyalty: Guests who benefit from a promotion are more likely to return, thereby increasing lifetime customer value. Not only that, but they may spread the word to other potential guests, earning your hotel powerful social proof.
  • Enhancing the guest experience: Complimentary services or amenities as part of a promotion can elevate the overall quality of a guest’s stay. In turn, this leads to more positive reviews, an integral part of earning more bookings.

Consider the average business traveller. She has several options for accommodation, but she (or her organisation) opts for your hotel due to a “Book two nights and receive a complimentary airport transfer” offer. This not only secures her booking but also provides an opportunity to exceed her expectations, making her more likely to return. She could potentially even share her experiences with the wider business, earning your hotel more bookings from the organisation across the board.

The same logic can be applied to other audiences: families, students, couples, retirees. Every demographic that you can think of can be enticed more effectively through a tailored booking promotion that offers better value based on their specific preferences.

How does a hotel room promotion drive more bookings?

Hotel room promotions are effective because they appeal to the decision-making psychology of potential guests:

  • Creating a sense of urgency and scarcity: Time-sensitive offers encourage immediate action, leading to quicker bookings.
  • Encouraging word-of-mouth: A guest who has a positive experience due to a special offer is more likely to recommend your hotel to others.
  • Providing upselling opportunities: Once a guest has booked a room, there are additional opportunities to upsell services such as dining or spa packages, thereby increasing overall revenue.

You can also use promo codes to easily get more guests booking through your direct booking engine.

Using promo codes at your hotel

Promo codes and/or coupons are a great way for your hotel to sell last-minute inventory or to get more guests through the door when you really need to. They’re also a useful way to re-engage past guests, and are often appreciated by most guests since they feel like they’re getting value for money.

You can share your promotion code via advertisements to entice guests with an exclusive rate, distribute it through your pre-arrival or post-departure emails to boost repeat stays, or use the promise of posting regular promotion codes to grow a following on your social media page or encourage newsletter signups.

Hotel promotion codes can be easily set up and implemented via your hotel booking engine. This will allow select guests who have the code to access a special rate for specific rooms. 

Here are some FAQs you might need answers to:

What do promotion codes do?

Promotion codes allow guests to book with a discount by entering a code in your direct booking engine. When guests enter the promo code along with their search criteria in the booking engine, they are able to view and book the rooms that are linked to that code.

How do promotion codes work?

As long as you have at least one active promotion code, a field where your potential guests can enter the promotion code will appear on your direct booking engine. When your guests enter a valid promotion code in your direct booking engine, it will show the selected rate plans with the discount you chose for the promotion code.

Why should I create a promotion code?

Creating and using promotion codes can make guests feel special, create a sense of urgency, help you win bookings around particular events or seasons, and help you retain existing customers.

Can I set restrictions for promotion codes?

While you can’t set restrictions specifically for a promo code, you can instead create a new rate plan that has the restrictions you need and then apply the promotion code to that rate plan.

Can I use promotion codes that show specific room types or rate plans?

Yes! You can use promotion codes to choose what rate plans you want to display first and create URLs to show specific room types or rate plans first.

Take a free trial of SiteMinder’s booking engine to see for yourself how it all works.

Remember that promo codes are best used as limited time offers, so it’s a good idea to periodically change or remove them.

Hotel promotion name ideas to get your guests excited:

If you need some ideas on how to name your promotions, here are 35 examples:

  1. Family Fun Adventure Package
  2. Romantic Retreat Getaway
  3. Find Yourself Wellness Retreat
  4. Golf Getaway Package
  5. Festive Holiday Spectacular
  6. Culinary Delight Experience
  7. Weekend Wine and Dine
  8. Ultimate Spa Indulgence
  9. Business Bliss Package
  10. Culture and Heritage Tour
  11. Oceanfront Serenity Special
  12. Shop ‘Til You Drop Deal
  13. Honeymoon Heaven Package
  14. Girls’ Weekend Extravaganza
  15. Pet-Friendly Paradise
  16. Ski Slope Adventure
  17. City Explorer’s Quest
  18. Eco-Friendly Green Getaway
  19. VIP Luxury Experience
  20. Art and Museum Enthusiast Package
  21. Birthday Bash Special
  22. Extended Stay Savings
  23. Digital Detox Retreat
  24. Local Experience Package
  25. Last-Minute Escape Deal
  26. All-Inclusive Luxury
  27. Seasonal Splendour
  28. Foodie’s Paradise Package
  29. Yoga and Mindfulness Retreat
  30. Adrenaline Junkie Adventure
  31. History Buff Package
  32. Tropical Island Escape
  33. Scenic Mountain Getaway
  34. Early Bird Special
  35. Suite Dreams Upgrade

Best hotel promotion ideas to try

If you’re trying to boost bookings and increase revenue flow at your hotel, there are few easier or more effective ways to do it than introducing some simple promotions.

Hotel promotions are great because you can be very flexible and targeted with what you offer, and often they’ll grab the attention of travellers searching online.

Here are just five examples of hotel promotions you can run to increase occupancy and revenue when needed.

1. Seasonal hotel promotions

Most destinations experience a low season, where tourism is not as active as other parts of the year. However, with the right deals your hotel doesn’t have to suffer through empty rooms and hallways.

Simply reducing the room rate might not be the best idea, as it won’t necessarily guarantee an increase in occupancy. Instead, try to incorporate discounts with more eye-catching promotions like ‘Summer Getaways’ and

‘Winter Retreats’ and remind travellers how beautiful your destination is and how much they can see when there are less crowds.
Seasonal promotions can be a great way to bring back customers who have stayed with you before.

2. Themed hotel promotions

There should be plenty of opportunity to offer specific promotions around certain activities or the typical market that you attract. These will be attention-grabbing and very relevant for travellers looking into booking a stay in the area.

For example you might offer promotions around honeymoons or anniversaries if you’re in a romantic locale, adventure deals if you’re out of the major cities, or ultimate relaxation experiences if you’re a coastal hotel. Appealing to different lifestyles or family setups is always a good idea.

3. Event-based hotel promotions

It’s likely your destination will be involved in a number of large events throughout the year. It makes a lot of sense to capitalise on these and include them in your promotions. People will already be researching these events so if your hotel has a deal in conjunction with them, awareness of your hotel should increase along with site traffic.

These events might include music or art festivals, Easter or Christmas events, circuses, travelling markets, sporting events etc. With a booking you might offer discounted tickets, adapt the hotel experience to match the events, create special rates.

4. Direct booking promotions

Placing exclusive promotions within your booking engine on your website will give travellers an incentive to book directly instead of via an OTA.

It will also help establish your hotel website as your most important distribution channel and help increase profit by eliminating OTA commission fees. The incentive might be a discount, or it might also be an added extra such as a bottle of wine, restaurant voucher, or amenity gift cards.

5. Partnership hotel promotions

In most cases, your hotel will be situated in a thriving location where you’re not the only business looking to capitalise on the many travellers to the area.

Combining with other businesses will reduce the cost of promotion and marketing, and give you wider coverage as long as your partner holds up their end of the bargain. It may also give you access to a new market and create ongoing business.

Common partnerships include those with theme parks, restaurants, cinemas, museums, sporting arenas, adventure and tour guides.
It’s one thing to create your promotions, but remember you need people to see them. Always advertise on your social media channels and ensure your search engine optimisation is strong to gain as much online traction as possible.

Entice guests using hotel promotions and increase bookings with SiteMinder as your trusted partner

  • Automated campaign management: Eliminate manual errors and save time with our automated system. SiteMinder ensures your promotions are consistently distributed across multiple channels for maximum reach.
  • Data-driven insights: Our robust analytics dashboard empowers you to make informed decisions. Understand the performance metrics of your promotions and refine your strategies for greater success.
  • Personalised guest experience: Use our advanced segmentation features to create targeted promotions. Whether it’s a package designed for couples or families, you can tailor your offers to meet the specific needs and desires of your guests.

Get started with SiteMinder for free or watch a demo to learn more.

Banner offering a free demo of SiteMinder's platform, published on a blog about hotel promotions.

By Dean Elphick

Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of SiteMinder, the leading technology provider delivering hoteliers unbeatable revenue results. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at SiteMinder. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance and value for accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations achieve their goals.

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